Government funds effort to get social housing tenants online
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
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South Essex Homes is one of twelve UK housing assocations that have secured funding from the government's ‘Digital Deal'.
The initiative, which aims to get more social housing tenants online, is a £400,000 fund from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
South Essex will be the lead partner in a consortium that includes SAVS (Southend Association of Voluntary Services), Citizen Advice Bureau, Asda and the Digital Exploration Centre, a local social enterprise IT consultancy firm.
The digital training programme will lessons on how to carry out internet searches, accessing Universal Credit, how to set up an email/bank account, paying bills online and having a better understanding of money saving initiatives.
Approximately 70 laptops/computers will be provided to residents as part of the scheme.
Mike Gatrell, chief executive of South Essex Homes, said: “A recent survey showed that 55% of our residents have no internet access. The Digital Deal Challenge funding will provide six months of digital training and volunteering opportunities delivered from a host of locations across the borough. There will also be the option for residents to be referred onto more advanced courses where appropriate.
“An exciting part of the project is the opportunity for residents to become IT Champions. These champions will be provided with free IT equipment to provide ongoing support and guidance to residents within their own communities.
“The project will also enable South Essex Homes to work more efficiently as we offer more services online and help customers in what is becoming an ever more digital world.”